Sertraline, common uses
Sertraline is a member of the family of drugs called "selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors." Serotonin is one of the chemical messengers believed to govern moods. Ordinarily, it is quickly reabsorbed after its release at the junctures between nerves. Re-uptake inhibitors such as Zoloft slow this process, thereby boosting the levels of serotonin available in the brain.
Sertraline is prescribed for major depressive disorder - a persistently low mood that interferes with everyday living. Sertraline can also be used for the type of depression called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). In addition, sertraline is used in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Sertraline is also prescribed for the treatment of panic disorder and for posttraumatic stress disorder.
Sertraline comes as a tablet, containing 50 or 100 mg, to take by mouth. The usual starting dose is 50 mg once a day, taken either in the morning or in the evening.
Your doctor may increase your dose depending upon your response. The maximum dose is 200 mg/day.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as remembered if it is within an hour or so. If you do not remember until later, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not "double-up" the dose to catch up.
Improvement with sertraline may not be seen for several days to a few weeks. You should expect to keep taking sertraline for at least several months.
Do not take sertraline within 2 weeks of taking any drug classified as an MAO inhibitor. Drugs in this category include the antidepressants Marplan, Nardil, and Parnate. When serotonin boosters such as sertraline are combined with MAO inhibitors, serious and sometimes fatal reactions can occur.
If you have a kidney or liver disorder, or are subject to seizures, take sertraline cautiously and under close medical supervision. Your doctor may limit your dosage if you have one of these conditions.
Sertraline has not been found to impair the ability to drive or operate machinery. Nevertheless, the manufacturer, Pfizer, recommends caution until you know how sertraline affects you.
You should not drink alcoholic beverages while taking sertraline. Use over-the-counter remedies with caution. Although none is known to interact with sertraline, interactions remain a possibility.
If sertraline is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining sertraline with the following:
Cimetidine, diazepam, digitoxin, flecainide, lithium, MAO inhibitor drugs such as the antidepressants Nardil and Parnate, other serotonin-boosting drugs such as Paxil and Prozac, other antidepressants such as Elavil and Serzone, over-the-counter drugs such as cold remedies, propafenone, sumatriptan, tolbutamide, warfarin.
The effects of sertraline during pregnancy have not been adequately studied. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, inform your doctor immediately. Sertraline should be taken during pregnancy only if it is clearly needed. It is not known whether sertraline appears in breast milk. Caution is advised when using sertraline during breastfeeding.
Sertraline, possible side effects
Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking sertraline.
More common side effects may include: abdominal pain, agitation, anxiety, constipation, diarrhea or loose stools, difficulty with ejaculation, dizziness, dry mouth, fatigue, gas, headache, decreased appetite, increased sweating, indigestion, insomnia, nausea, nervousness, pain, rash, sleepiness, sore throat, tingling or pins and needles, tremor, vision problems, vomiting
If overdose of sertraline is suspected, contact your local poison control center or emergency room immediately.
Sertraline, additional information
Keep sertraline in a tightly closed container and out of reach of children. Store sertraline at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
The above information is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgement of your physician, or other healthcare professional. It should not be construed to indicate that use of sertraline is safe, appropriate, or effective for you.
Consult your health care professional before you